Climate Issues and their Effects on Architecture

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Architecture has to adapt to the local climate, especially the tropical climate has constant rainfall and sunlight throughout the years. In fact, the tropical climate has a relatively comfortable temperature. But the sunlight could be intense sometimes. In this context, the passive design should in line with the tropical climate to enhance the indoor thermal comfort in order to prevent the indoor temperature become higher than the outdoor temperature.

The design of the auditorium has to be sensitive to the climatic particularities and the site context; in this context, it is able to provide passively comfortable condition for the occupants. Climatic issues have to put in serious account in order to create the auditorium building envelope that are thermally comfortable and produce the least impact on the surrounding environment.

With the effect and influence of “Global Warming” and the escalating price of electricity, keeping the indoor to be cool will turn as an important issue in the future. The largest energy consumer in the building, especially the auditorium is the air-conditioning system. However, the air-conditioning system also has the largest savings potential regarding to this issue.

The second largest energy consumer in the auditorium is the lighting system. When artificial lightings are operating, it consumes electricity and generates heat into the indoor space. Thus, the energy consumption is increased as there is a need for more cooling load.

For an enclosed building like an auditorium, other measures are resorted, like the energy-efficient electrical appliances. For example, energy-saving lightings, high efficiency air-conditioners and last but not least, the sophisticated building services control system.

However, before considering neither the electrical appliances nor the cooling system, a passive method should be the starting point to provide an efficient building envelope. Various architectural solutions have been used in the tropical climate to moderate the effect of the intense sun on the auditorium design. Orientation of the building, light colour wall paint, proper shading devices and the well-insulated building envelope.

The design of the auditorium, which incorporating the passive methods should be adhered to before installing the energy efficient mechanical and electrical building system. It is definitely helping to reduce energy consumption in a correct way.

Material like the polished aluminium sheet used as external cladding is a bonus point as thermal insulation in the tropical climate. It has high value of reflectivity and aesthetically nice in looking. If the budget is allowable, insulation layer can be put in the wall construction and a plaster board on the internal wall surface as a double insulation layer. Additionally, mineral wool and fibre board have a positive influence on the OTTV analysis. It has been found that using insulation can enhance the internal comfort condition by increasing the thermal resistance of the wall. Surprisingly, the double wall system for the auditorium is not the best system in the tropical climate.

If there is budget constraint, a simple brick wall construction with 13mm thick plaster applied on both sides of the wall of the auditorium can meet a satisfactory level. White colour is always the best colour for the tropical climate.

Besides, double glazed clear glass with low-e is the best glazing which suit to tropical climate. Double glazed glass should be the choice of glazing type for the auditorium as it depends fully on the air-conditioning system. It is very important to protect the window from direct solar heat gain.

The openings of the wall should take into serious consideration. Opening at East-West elevations must be avoided as it brings in direct heat and serious solar radiation. If the openings are unavoidable for the East and West elevation, shading devices should be attached to provide the proper shading effect. By means of suitable shading devices help alleviate the comfort condition in the auditorium. In this context, the horizontal shading devices suit for East and West elevations while the vertical shading devices are the better option for North and South elevations.

Proper choice of building materials can reduce the solar radiation penetrates to the internal space of the auditorium. It is very significant for the auditorium in tropical climate. Materials with low thermal transmission and low heat capacity are the most preferable to prevent the heat accumulate in the building envelope during daytime. The heat, which accumulated would radiate into the internal space of the auditorium in the nighttime when the wind speed tends to be lower. Consequently, hot air temperature and high humidity caused poor indoor air quality in the auditorium. When there is a function in the nighttime, it utilizes more energy in order to clear the unwanted air in the auditorium.

As the UBBL is amended to comply with OTTV calculation at the design stage before the construction, build environment in Malaysia is now concerned about a more energy-efficient and sustainable building, in term of the construction material, building design, energy efficient building services and appliances and so on. Now the fully active mode building like auditorium is gaining its attention to be a green building. There will be lesser and lesser energy wastage created by auditorium in the future.

The smart system like the Building Automation System (BAS) in the auditorium should be implemented well. It would be futile if no one to monitor the continuous performance of the building system. The BAS system needs regular monitoring and improving the status quo. The Energy Management System (EMS) is now a trend for energy efficient building. On the other hand, renewable energy is now a way forward in order to sustain the ecological environment. It is especially important for the auditorium, which consumes higher energy than the other type of buildings.

A sustainable auditorium is important as it leads the improvement to the other fully active mode buildings like the shopping complex and hotel. The investigation and studies done on the sustainability of the auditorium are for the survival of thuman in the future. The build environment which helps global warming should be reduced.


It is undeniable that the number of studies and publications on the relationship of climate to architecture, people and energy use is very extensive. Undoubtedly, a variety of theoretical and technical problems should be solved before a real ecological architecture can be created in the tropical countries.

In order to deem the conclusion of future studies even more usable, different auditorium should be tested to obtain more complete data sets. Additionally, it is advisable to use questionnaires as parallel subjective studies to get the subjective comfort data.

Future studies can include a more detailed study of the chiller plant room control, included more data from the chiller operation on the behaviour of the rooms’ ventilation systems.

In a nutshell, the investigation of this study was limited to only one case study auditorium. Further studies on various cases of auditorium in Malaysia are recommended to gain more accurate evaluation.